12 types you come across at every art fair
Lucas Boitquin_Eventpartners_Highlights_009
15-11-2023, 14:02
Anyone who regularly visits an art fair knows: you meet people from all walks of life, but there are a few types you run into every fair. The following twelve, for example. How do you recognise them? And what is the best way to start a conversation with them? At the next art fair, take this list with you and tick it off!
1. The museum curator

These professionals, often dressed in a minimalist black stylish outfit and glasses with hefty coloured frames, scour the fair in search of works to take their own collection to the next level. They can be recognised by a catalogue full of notes and a smartphone full of contacts in the art world. They usually do not like art-collecting multi-millionaires who snatch prestige pieces from under their noses. Like to talk about the latest trends in museum collections.

2. The art connoisseur

These art fair hoppers can often be found at the most obscure artworks and are happy to offer solicited and unsolicited advice and fascinating commentary, dropping names of artists that it has a nature. Clothing styles range from shabby bohemian to edgy-gympen eccentric. Feel free to start a conversation about an underrated work of art and you'll have the art connoisseurs' attention.

3. The art pensionado

You have to keep yourself busy with something after the retirement age. A trip to TEFAF, for example, and then a delicious burgundy feast in the heart of Maastricht. For these visitors, the art fair is a cultural outing, just as they went to the Kröller-Muller last week. Buying art is not a must, but if the lady happens to have her eye on a cute little lithograph, the gentleman is not the fool and the credit card is generously drawn. Like to talk about art that evokes memories of their travels or younger years.

4. The socialite

Glamorous and always ready for a photo with the happy few, the socialite likes to be seen in the 'right' circles. Art circles, in this case. They can be recognised by their decked-out appearance and you actually see them passing by at every VIP event, whether it is about art, charity or sports. So a conversation about their latest VIP party is guaranteed to open conversational doors.

5. The art collector

This wealthy, often senior art lover dresses in classic, neat clothing with an expensive watch and is in constant conversation with the gallery owners, who all know him personally. Likes to talk about the personal collection and can dwell for hours on the 'invisible' stories behind the artworks.

6. The artfluencer

This Insta-artlover is easy to spot with a smartphone in hand, drily posing in front of the most photogenic (colourful) artworks. Often dresses in eye-catching outfits and the artwork in the background is carefully matched to their own textile colour palette. A conversation about their number of followers or their most recent Insta-story is guaranteed to catch their attention.

7. The networking tiger

For these visitors, art is an afterthought, they come mainly to collect business cards that will help them get ahead in business. Usually go dressed in jacket-tie-like outfits, also identifiable by a gaze firmly focused on name tags, with the LinkedIn app on the smartphone for reference. Talk about business opportunities or common acquaintances to start a conversation.

8. The startup-artlover

This tech-savvy art fair visitor is young and often wears a jumper, jeans and worn-out trainers. Is particularly fascinated by digital art and innovative installations. In these, thanks to reaching the scale-up phase, they can therefore invest to their heart's content. Start talking about the intersections between art and tech to end up in an animated conversation.

9. The sponsorship invitation

These visitors are relations or employees of the sponsor. They are not much into art themselves, but are very good at shaking hands. Usually dress in formal business attire and hang around mainly at the sponsor unit. Can further be recognised by their attempts to appear interested during conversations about art. A chat about football or Max Verstappen can be a welcome change for them.

10. The celebrity

Easy to spot by the group of photographers and fans circling around them. Their presence is not infrequently part of a publicity campaign. They often wear eye-catching, fashionable clothes. It's best not to strike up a conversation with them, unless you want to be expertly pressed to the floor by their bodyguards.

11. The art broker

These professionals are the middlemen in the art world. Always in conversation with potential buyers and sellers, they are recognisable by their sartorial-chic dress style and sharp, appraising gaze. Prefer to talk about market trends, upcoming artists and investment opportunities in art.

12. The inventor

These art fair visitors can be found exactly where the free drinks and snacks are handed out. They are masters at avoiding conversations about art, but know exactly which direction the next tray of flûtes is moving in. A light-hearted conversation about vegan versus meat snacks can certainly captivate them.